Inaugural Roundtable on Heritage Language Education

ILETC and the Education and Language Acquisition Department of LaGuardia Community College are proud to announce the Inaugural Roundtable on Heritage Language Education, to be held Friday, October 17th from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm at LaGuardia Community College, E-242. The event will include an Invited Lecture, lunch, and a Roundtable Discussion featuring a panel of faculty from seven CUNY campuses, with expertise in heritage language teaching in seven different languages.

Kim Potowski is an Associate Professor of Hispanic linguistics in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is also a faculty affiliate in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program. You may visit her personal website here. Dr. Potowski will be the keynote speaker at the Heritage Language Roundtable scheduled for October 17, 2014, at LaGuardia Community College, co-organized by ILETC and the Education and Language Acquisition Department of LaGuardia Community College. A panel of CUNY faculty specialized in the teaching of heritage languages will follow her presentation. To read more about Dr. Potowski’s publications, presentations, fellowships, and awards, we encourage you to visit her profile on the University of Illinois at Chicago website.

Faculty Panel:

Habiba Boumlik is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education and Language Acquisition at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY). She received her Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Strasbourg, and also holds an M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Besancon, France. Her research interests encompass francophone literatures, North African immigration to France, Moroccan Judaism, and Berber identity. Dr. Boumlik teaches Arabic and French courses at LaGuardia.


Evelyn Durán Urrea is Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Literatures at Lehman College (CUNY). She holds an M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University; her research interests include bilingualism, language contact, Spanish-English code-switching, and Spanish as a heritage language.Dr. Urrea has been teaching and supervising Heritage Spanish courses at the undergraduate level since 2002, and is currently developing an electronic placement exam for Spanish heritage learners at Lehman.

Wei Lai is Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Queensborough Community College (CUNY). She received an M.A. at the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in applied linguistics at Pennsylvania State University; her research interests include foreign language pedagogy, second language acquisition, heritage language instruction, and Chinese linguistics. Dr. Lai has been teaching Elementary Heritage Chinese at Queensborough since Fall 2010, where she participates in Heritage Chinese curriculum design and materials development, and oversees placement and assessment for heritage Chinese speakers.

Edwin M. Lamboy is Associate Professor at The City College of New York (CUNY), where he directs the Secondary Spanish Education Program and chairs the Secondary Education Department. He received his M.Ed. from Lehman College (CUNY) and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Lamboy’s experience working with heritage language students includes teaching both language and education courses that focus on the linguistic, sociocultural, and sociolinguistic needs of heritage learners, and, more recently, working with heritage speakers of Spanish seeking NYS certification to teach Spanish in grades 7-12.

Tomonori Nagano is Assistant Professor of Japanese and Coordinator of the Modern Languages and Literatures Program at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY). He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Graduate Center (CUNY), and his research interests are second language acquisition and Japanese as a heritage language. Dr. Nagano currently serves as a faculty mentor for the Luce World Pathways Project, a grant-funded project to promote linguistic skills and cultural awareness among students who speak heritage languages at LaGuardia.


Joachim Oppenheim is Instructor and Coordinator of the Arabic language program at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). He received his M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies at New York University. Mr. Oppenheim has many years of experience in teaching Arabic both at the university level as well as in the private sector. His research interests focus on the different pedagogical needs of language learners in the Mahjar (places of immigration or diaspora), and how these needs compare with those of language learners in the Middle East itself.

Nadya Peterson is Associate Professor of Russian at Hunter College (CUNY), where she is Head of the Russian and Slavic Studies Program; she is also on the faculty in the doctoral program of the Department of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center (CUNY). A specialist on contemporary Russian prose and women’s literature, Dr. Peterson is the author of Subversive Imaginations: Fantastic Prose and the End of Soviet Literature, 1970s-1990s and of a number of articles on various aspects of Russian literature, culture, and education. She is a published translator and editor, most recently of Russian Love Stories (Peter Lang, 2009) and The Witching Hour and Other Plays by Nina Sadur (Academic Studies Press, 2014). Dr. Peterson has taught a number of courses for heritage students throughout her teaching career.

Laura Villa is Assistant Professor in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at Queens College (CUNY), and received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the Graduate Center (CUNY). Her research explores the intersections between language and politics in the Spanish-speaking world from historical and contemporary perspectives. Dr. Villa has designed and taught several heritage courses, including one for 9th graders in an Early College Experience Program, and, as her department’s Language Coordinator, is redesigning the current placement system in order to better serve Queens’s student population.